Food and Diet

Eat farm-to(-your-kitchen)-table because it's good for you and the earth; here's how

Story highlights

  • Food from small sustainable farms may contain more nutrients than conventional produce sourced from large-scale industrial farms
  • Farms that practice sustainable agriculture typically produce lower greenhouse gas emissions

(CNN)Drew Hiatt walked me around a small patch of farmland just a few footsteps away from his dining room inside the Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton, New York. He is the farm planner and executive chef of the House's Jean-Georges restaurant, which serves farm-to-table cuisine, sourcing ingredients grown on the property's one-acre farm.

"My wife Joy is the farmer -- she pulls a lot of the weeds. I cut the asparagus and pick the breakfast radishes," he said proudly. "It's a lot harder than it looks ... but we enjoy what we do; this is my life," said Hiatt.
A quick walk around the farm revealed more than just asparagus and radishes: There are crops of curly kale, red leaf lettuce, Japanese long cucumbers, blueberries, arugula, carrots, tomatillos, zucchini flowers, figs, black raspberries, and an herb garden with cilantro, dill, thyme, parsley, lovage and Thai basil. Each crop is neatly defined in different sections, and I started to feel healthier just by looking at all of it.
    "We'll use these black raspberries to make a black raspberry crème fraiche ice cream on top of peach cobbler," he said.
    Then I watched as Hiatt picked a radish that he will serve that evening as part of the restaurant's amuse-bouche. This is, of course, what "farm-to-table" cuisine is all about.